Pink is unlikely the first colour that comes to mind as far as natural lakes are concerned, but Mother Earth does her wonders again. Not only one but in fact, there are quite a few dazzling pink-coloured lakes in Australia.
Unusual but definitely mesmerizing, the causes of this natural phenomenon of having the pinky-touch in the lake water can be varied, but the most common explanation is due to the existence of algae and salt. Depending on seasons and conditions, the colours can sometimes be more vibrant and bolder.
There is however, a forever-pink lake in Western Australia that does not go out of colour. Lake Hillier is a natural wonder on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago off the coast of Esperance.
The lake is about 600 meters in length, and is surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paperbark and Eucalyptus trees. A narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separates it from the blue Southern Ocean.
No-one fully understands why the lake is pink. Scientists speculate that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts. Its pink colour is less accentuated when viewed from the surface but it is very prominent from above.
The Lake Hillier was first discovered in 1802 by explorer Matthew Flinders who took samples from the lake and mentioned its existence in his journal.
The Pink Lake (Spencer Lake)
There are at least 3 pink lakes in Western Australia, but Spencer Lake is the only one that has been named as Pink Lake. However, it has not been ‘pink’ for quite a while, which is why the Pink Lake is often mistaken as Lake Hillier, even though they are located in two different places.
The Pink Lake is just 7 kilometers from the town of Esperance. Under the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water. The lake has not turned pink for a while due to the climate.
From bright bubblegum pink to occasionally even red, the waters of Hutt Lagoon can be an extraordinary sight on the drive between Port Gregory and Kalbarri. The lake is believed to boast a pink hue created by the presence of carotenoid-producing algae, Dunaliella salina.
The lagoon is about 70 square kilometers with most of it lying a few meters below sea level. It is separated from the Indian Ocean by a beach barrier ridge and barrier dune system.
Lake Eyre, South Australia
Lake Eyre is a dry expanse of shimmering salt in the South Australian Outback, in a basin so large that it crosses the borders of three states. As the lake dries up and the water evaporates, its salinity increases and it often appears to turn pink. This is in fact caused by a pigment found within an algae species that lives in the lake.
Pink Lake, Meningie – South Australia
On the road between Tailem Bend and Meningie is the Pink Lake. These pink lakes are quite common in dryer areas and are coloured by the presence of algae known as beta carotene in the waters.
Quairading Pink Lake, Western Australia
At certain times of the year, one side of the lake becomes dark pink, while the other side remains a light pink colour. During summer, evaporation causes the water level to drop and salt builds up on the banks and trees. When the water returns, the salt causes the pink colour.
Westgate Park’s lake, Victoria
Westgate Park’s Salt Lake turned pink in response to very high salt levels, high temperatures, sunlight and lack of rainfall. Algae growing in the salt crust at the bottom of the lake produces the red pigment (beta carotene) as part of its photosynthesis process and in response to the extremely high salt levels.
Murray-Sunset National Park, Victoria
There are four salt lakes in the park- Lake Crosbie, Lake Becking, Lake Kenyon and Lake Hardy. The lakes’ waters are actually crystal clear and the beds of the four lakes are made up of solid salt. However, it is the red algae (Dunaliella salina), which grows in the water that gives the lakes their pink hue.